Another death sentence was carried out in Belarus. Alexander Zhilnikov who had been convicted for the murder of three people was executed.
The fate of the second convict involved in the case, Vyacheslav Sukharko, so far remains unknown, the deregistered in Belarus Vesna human rights center reports.
The relatives of Zhilnikov reported the execution to the coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus”. Experience has shown, sentences in such cases are carried out simultaneously.
According to Vesna, on 30 May, the lawyer met with Alexander Zhilnikov to make a complaint to the General Prosecutor’s Office to consider the case due to newly discovered circumstances.
Today, on 13 June, the lawyer went to the remand center to continue the work on the complaint, where she was told about Zhilnikov’s fate. The lawyer clarified whether it means that he was shot and received a positive response.
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An official report on the execution of the sentence will be sent to relatives in accordance with the established procedure. Relatives of death roll inmates, as a rule, are not notified of the execution of the sentence and are not given the opportunity for a final visit.
In accordance with Belarusian legislation, the bodies of those shot are not handed out to relatives for burial, and the place of their burial is not reported. Alexander Zilnikov’s individual appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee is currently under consideration.
What was Zhilnikov accused of?
Recall that in December 2015, the bodies of a 24-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man were found on Alibegov Street in Minsk.
Investigation revealed that an ex-girlfriend of the man hired Zhilnikov and Sukharko to beat the unnamed victim for two million rubles (~$100) so that she can restore relationship with the man.
Seeking the profit and acting under the influence of alcohol, they killed both of them. One hundred and fifty wounds were detected on the bodies. The day before, the defendants killed another man who kept $10,000 at home.
In spring 2017, the men were sentenced to life imprisonment, but the Supreme Court sent the case for review and decided to execute them. The ordering woman got 12 years in prison.
24-year-old Vyacheslav Sukharko fully admitted guilt and asked for shooting. However, 44-year-old Alexander Zhilnikov blamed the accomplice. He said that he “didn’t kill and he is not a murderer.”
The stumbling block
In 2018, four people were executed in Belarus. There are two more convicts who had been sentenced to the death penalty, according to human rights activists.
Belarus is the only state in Europe that still applies the death penalty. The country’s record counts over 400 executions in the past 20 years, with only one pardon from the president.
“Considering the death penalty as a rare punishment (most death sentences are imposed for the killing of two or more people, or for especially grave crimes), Belarus is consistently taking steps to restrict its use,” the Administration of the Belarusian president commented recently.
According to the authorities, “there was no fundamental change in public opinion on the issue of the death penalty”. Recall that over 80% of Belarusian citizens favored this punishment during the referendum of 1996.
The moratorium on the abolition of the death penalty can be imposed only based on the opinion of the population.